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Thoughts and ideas related to training in
During a trip to Japan for training a number of years ago, I think about 2002, I was really surprised to find out the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent (TV) was going to be filming at the Dojo.
While talking to the presenter later on I found out that they had wanted to do a story on corruption in Sumo tournaments but couldn’t get anyone to talk about it. However during their investigations they heard about Hatsumi Sensei and thought it would be good for a bit of extra footage so they arranged to come along for an interview.
They spent the day with Hatsumi Sensei (Soke) and were really surprised at just how friendly and nice he was to everyone, I don’t know what he was expecting, Soke has always been pleasant as far as I know.
Anyway by the time class started later that night all the Japanese Shihan (Master Instructors) had been summoned and were putting on a little demonstration for the cameras. All amazing, and I’m sitting there jaw hanging down and mouth open when I hear these 6 words from one of the interpreters…
“Are the any Australians here today?” .....
With slight apprehension I raised my hand while at the same time looking around the room to see who else was also raising theirs. I mean there’s always loads of Aussies training in Japan, and plenty that live there so surely I couldn’t be the only one, or was I ….. sure enough! I knew what was next didn’t I.
Soke looked over “Ah good, good, come come” and over I went.
The interpreter looked at me and said “what’s going to happen is the Japanese Shihan will be doing a technique and then you have to copy it to represent your country back home”
Me “ oh , um, ok “
And with the Nagase Sensei preceded to get thrown thru the air into a dive roll that he leaps up out of does a double front Stomp kick to some poor Brits chest lands using a sideways roll with a kick to some other guys groin and backward rolls away to safety…….. easy 10 out of 10
Hatsumi Sensei “Australia’s turn !”
So I ask a friend for some help by throwing me forward into the dive roll jump up and make a mess of the kick, drop into a sideways roll and accidentally kick the other guy in the groin (hear him wince) and back roll away to safety. Overhear Soke say “ok very good, very good ” and I’m thinking to myself way to kind sensei but thanks for the encouragements. Then i went over and apologised to the guy who’s groin I accidentally kicked. 5/10
Round 2 Bo Shuriken (throwing spike about 13 cm long, like a 6 inch nail)
Nagase Sensei is amazing with the Bo Shuriken left hand throws , Right hand throws, 3 or 4 at a time, from rolls, turning and throwing etc really awe inspiring display of martial arts skills developed by years of training with many hours of dedication in front of a target.
“Australia’s turn” Sensei says. Just so you know at that point I had never thrown them before in my life
Fortunately we had a few minutes while the cameras we being adjusted and Nagase Sensei was kind enough to come over and give me a 60 second tutorial.
So here I am standing in front of a tatami target with 10 Shuriken in my hand, 60 seconds of training, 100 people watching, including Soke , and a TV crew from one of them most respected national news programmes in the country, and they’re all looking at me.
Hatsumi Sensei says “Ok!”
So while thinking about Nagase Sensei’s awesome machine gun like display of throwing ability fresh in my mind I begin to throw them at the target , which is about 12 feet away. …… the first one land and sticks and out of the next 9 I think I get about 4 more in. To be honest I was pretty pleased given the circumstances. My throws were just tragic in comparison to Nagase Sensei’s but all things considered 5 out of 10 was not to bad.
When I returned to Melbourne I received a phone call from the ABC letting me know when the clip was going to be shown, when the day came I really enjoyed the programme , they were kind enough to edit me out of the relevant section for which I was pretty grateful.
For the first three months since returning to Melbourne I practiced everyday for about 1 hour and was able to throw reasonably well by the end of it. Today almost 10 years later I can throw Bo Shuriken quite well with lots of variety, with both hands , from rolls etc various other positions but still nowhere near as well as Nagase Sensei
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